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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Winter Storms Ahead: Are You Ready?

Winter Storms Ahead:
Are You Ready?

We admit it: As insurance pros, our picture of winter isn’t exactly cozy. Winter storms mean traffic snarls, hillsides turning to sheets of ice, and cars sliding around like hockey pucks. Cold temperatures can cause pipes to burst, frost swells and other damage. Heating your home with fireplaces and holiday lighting can increase the risk of fire.

A picture-perfect winter requires a few precautions

  • Here are a few of our top tips to help reduce weather-related hassles this winter.
  • Winter-proof your car with good snow tires or chains, new wiper blades, antifreeze, and emergency road supplies.
  • Keep your attic cool to help prevent ice dams. Insulate the attic floor and make sure it is well-ventilated.
  • Do not overload circuits with holiday decorations.

When winter storms hit, be smart

  • If you do not have to drive, stay put. If you must drive, make sure you’ve winterized your car and have a full tank of gas.
  • When the air is cold, keep bath and kitchen cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate around pipes. If pipes do freeze, let them thaw normally—they’ll be less likely to burst.
  • And if the power is out, make sure you avoid leaving candles or fires burning unattended. If you use a portable generator, follow the instructions and do not use it indoors.

Know what your insurance covers

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Do You Need Winter Tires?

Do You Need Winter Tires?

You know it’s coming. Snow and slush. Freezing rain. Maybe even black ice.

But do you know if your tires are ready for all of that?

When driving in Washington State in the wintertime, your tires just might be the most important safety feature on your car. The right ones can get you to your destination safely. The wrong ones? Well, just look over in the ditch during the next storm.

So how do you figure out what’s best for your vehicle? Here are five things to know about winter tires:

 

  • Winter tires really are different than regular tires.
    Winter tires have deeper tread, along with siping (slits in the tread blocks). This increases the number of edges that touch the road, resulting in better traction and handling. They also stay softer than other tires do in cold weather, thanks to special rubber compounds designed specifically for winter use. That helps increase traction as well.
     
  • If your area regularly drops below 45 degrees, you probably need winter tires.
    Winter tires don’t just perform better in snow and ice. They are better for cold weather in general. So if you get some chilly days where you live, consider a set – a full set. Installing just two winter tires can cause handling problems.
  • There are two main categories.
    Studless snow and ice tires are designed for extreme conditions. They are better in deep snow than performance winter tires, which are for light snow and ice. What about studded tires? Well, they give you great traction on ice but also damage roads. And some experts say chains do just as well.
  • You still need to check the pressure — once a week.
    If your tires are underinflated, they are at risk of failing. In winter, if they’re overinflated, your traction will be significantly reduced.
  • You still need to check the tread, too.
    An inexpensive tool found at auto-parts stores can be used for this, or you can use a penny. Stick the coin into the groove of the tire, with Lincoln’s head down. Is some of his hair hidden? Good. Can you see all of Abe’s hair? It’s time for new tires. Right now.

We here at Duda Insurance know that nobody wants to spend too much time thinking about tires. The good news is you don’t have to. Just a little bit of preparation, along with some routine maintenance, will keep you driving in Washington State all winter long.

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10 months ago · by · 0 comments

How to Protect Your Most Cherished Possessions

If you’re like most people, there are certain items you own that you can’t imagine ever losing—possessions you deeply cherish or those that would be impossible to replace due to the cost of re-purchasing them or simply because they’re irreplaceable.

While your homeowners insurance is invaluable for covering the loss or destruction of many of your belongings (as well as damage to your home’s structure), your policy might provide only partial coverage for your most cherished items.

The good news is that you can still protect the things that matter to you most, even if they’re not fully covered under your homeowners, with a scheduled personal property endorsement that is tailored to meet your specific needs.

Not an easy name, but it can help you sleep better at night
A scheduled personal property endorsement is not something that everyone talks about, but we at {agency-name} can help you determine if it would be a good fit for you. The first step begins with you. Look around your home and make a list of your cherished possessions. Be sure to consider the following:

– Jewelry
– Antiques
– Art
– Collections
– Musical instruments
– Silverware/China
– Autographed items
– Rare or one-of-a-kind items

Once you have taken an inventory, make the time to talk with us. We are always here to help you determine whether if your prized possessions need more coverage than your current policy provides.

Please keep in mind that it is wise to complete an inventory every year or so, because it’s easy to acquire new items over time that should be added to a scheduled personal property endorsement. It could be tragic to find yourself in a situation rendering you unable to replace what matters most to you.

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10 months ago · by · 0 comments

Make Smart Saving Choices

In today’s unsettled economy, many people are looking for ways to stretch their money—but sometimes this includes altering insurance coverages to dangerously low levels or eliminating coverage entirely. If you’re thinking about changing your coverage to save money, consider these key issues below — and give us a call. We can help make sure you’ve got the right protection at a price you can afford.

Make sure you’re getting the appropriate discounts and credits: Most insurers offer a variety of policy credits and account discounts that can translate into significant savings — without endangering the level of protection you need for your home, autos and other valuable property. And often, if you purchase multiple policies through the same insurance company, you’ll receive further discounts. People who own motorcycles or boats and who complete approved safety courses can qualify for discounts, and families with teen drivers who earn good grades in school may qualify for auto policy discounts.
Increase deductibles for cost savings: Only a small percentage of homeowners have claims in any given year, so you might consider increasing your deductible.
Specialty lines coverage options: Own a classic car or RV? If their use is seasonal, you can typically reduce your coverage to liability only during the off-season, then add full coverage only when you are actually using the vehicle
Full payment on policy: Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be able to make lump-sum payments instead of partial premium payments, such as monthly or quarterly. Partial payments often include small transaction fees, so paying the full amount can eliminate those extra costs.

Some decisions to avoid:

It is just as important to understand what not to do as you look for cost savings. Here are some scenarios you should avoid:

It may be unwise to carry only the minimum state-required amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on auto policies, or to cancel it entirely if it is not required in your state: According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC)*, the correlation between the percentage of uninsured motorists and the unemployment rate is high — when the economy is struggling, more people go without insurance. You want to make sure you’re protected in this instance.
Ignoring renters insurance: This coverage is often overlooked no matter what shape the economy is in. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the individual renters’ contents. Imagine having to replace furniture, clothing and other personal property out of pocket because you excluded this essential, affordable coverage and then suffered a devastating loss from a burglary or other covered event.

Saving money is important, but so is making sure that what you’ve got is protected. If you’re looking for ways to save, or want to review your coverages, give us a call!

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10 months ago · by · 0 comments

Identity Theft

Your Identity Belongs to You. Protect It!
A 2009 survey shows that identity theft is on the rise – and it’s more likely to start with a stolen wallet than an online phishing expedition.

Researchers at Javelin Strategy & Research reported that the number of identity theft cases increased 22 percent to 9.9 million in 2008.

Crimes of opportunity, such as stolen wallets, represented 43 percent of cases, compared to 33 percent in 2007, indicating an increase in the desperation of criminals.
Women were 26 percent more likely to be victims of identity theft, reporting a higher incidence of lost or stolen information during purchases in stores.
Only 11 percent of cases involved online access.

The smartest way to protect yourself from identity theft is to prevent it from happening to you. However, if your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by acting quickly.

Call your credit card companies immediately. Explain what happened, and ask where to send a copy of the police report.
Call and report to the police. Make several copies of police report.
Complete a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Theft Affidavit and FTC report (call 1-887-ID-THEFT to request the forms).
Call your bank. They can place an alert on your Driver’s License number and Social Security Number, and freeze your account.
Call fraud units of credit report agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

Fortunately, identity theft protection is available as an endorsement on most homeowners’ policies at a small cost. For example, Safeco offers Identity Theft Protection for $12 a year to homeowner policy holders. The coverage reimburses certain expenses associated with identity recovery. Customers can also get guidance on how to protect themselves from ID theft before it happens and may receive assistance with identity restoration. At Duda Insurance we are a Legal Shield provider, to learn more about LegalShield and ID Shield visit the LegalShield tab on our website!

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11 months ago · by · 0 comments

Night Driving Dangers

A little extra caution can go a long way while driving at night

Summer has ended, and while fall and winter have their own pleasures — longer nights mean increased danger on the roads.

You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC).

Because we’re big advocates for safety at Duda Insurance, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at why night driving is more dangerous, and what you can do to decrease that danger.

What’s dangerous about night driving?

Decreased vision. We won’t go into all the biological details, but different parts of the eye (such as iris, pupil and retina) work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, but it’s more difficult to focus on objects ahead of you. And traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads creates issues as well.

Driving too fast for your headlights. Depending on vehicle speed and headlight setting, many people “over-drive” their headlights. That means, by the time they see something on the road, it’s too late to stop in time to avoid it.

Impaired judgment. Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don’t use good judgment. According to the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who weren’t wearing seat belts.

So what do you do?
Sometimes, there’s no way around driving at night. So here are some tips to help you make a safe trip:

1. Make sure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition. And not just headlights, but turn signals, taillights, etc.
2. Avoid speeding.
3. Leave a bigger cushion between you and other cars than you would during daylight hours.
4. Leave yourself more time for the trip.
5. Be more aware of your surroundings.
6. You shouldn’t be using your phone, messing around with the radio or trying to find something on the floor while you’re on the road anyway — and distractions are even more deadly at night.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable driving at night, the best thing is to avoid it altogether if possible. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride from a trusted safe driver or waiting for the sun to come out!

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11 months ago · by · 0 comments

Emergency Preparedness Kit

What You Need in an Emergency Kit

You never know when a natural disaster is going to hit the Pacific Northwest — or even just a big storm that knocks out the power for a few days.

That’s why having an emergency kit for you and your family is so important. It’s not hard to put one together, yet there are still many households that would be completely unprepared if they had to evacuate their home for a few days. Or, for that matter, remain in their home without access to running water or electricity.

Below is a list of basic items for your emergency kit, as recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Of course, you can add or remove items as needed to meet the specific needs of you and your family.

One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
A three-day supply of nonperishable food for people and pets. (Note that the Red Cross recommends keeping a two-week supply of food and water on hand at home.)
A battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
A first-aid kit.
Prescription medications and glasses.
Dust masks to filter contaminated air, along with plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a makeshift shelter if necessary.
A whistle to signal for help.
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
A tool to turn off utilities.
A can opener.
Local maps.

Additional items that are likely to be useful:

Important documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and birth certificates, bank account records, etc. Be sure to keep these in a watertight container.
Extra cash or traveler’s checks.
Warm blankets or sleeping bags for each person in your family.
Matches.
Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils and paper towels.
Paper and pencils.
Books and activities to keep kids busy.
Emergency reference material, such as a first-aid book.
A complete change of clothing for everyone in the family, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. If you live in a cold climate, you might pack additional clothing and bedding.

Keep in mind, when you need your emergency kit, you really need it. It’s a small investment of time and effort that can have a huge benefit in case of a disaster. And you don’t have to spend your whole day putting it together — spread out the work over a few days and you’ll be prepared in no time.

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1 year ago · by · 0 comments

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

The holidays have arrived!  For those with one or more four-legged friends in the house, it’s time to go over some safety tips. After all, you want all of your family members to enjoy the festivities – even the furry ones.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which operates the 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435, takes calls year round about pets being exposed to potentially hazardous yet common household items. With the house filled with guests, presents and decorations during the holidays, the risks multiply.

Here are some things to remember and consider from Thanksgiving through New Year’s to help keep Fluffy or Fido healthy, happy and safe:

Houseguests

Make sure everyone keeps medicine bottles or pill cases safely tucked away – actually that applies to everyone in your household, both permanent residents and visitors. And, just in case a probing pet gets into some medications, always make sure the containers are labeled with the contents and potency so you know what was ingested.

Of course, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without sharing in feasts and treats with family and friends. Just make sure that doesn’t extend to your pets. After all, some things on the holiday dinner table, such as alcohol and chocolate, are toxic for pets.

And, because all of the seasonal commotion may become too much for your pets, be sure they have a quiet place to which they can retreat. Let others know your pets shouldn’t be disturbed when they are in their quiet spot, whether it’s a bed, a cozy blanket or a kennel.

Presents

Those beautifully wrapped presents under the tree or covering the fireplace mantel can also be harmful to your oh-so-curious felines and canines – especially if a present contains treats for them or food for humans. Animals have a keen sense of smell and, once they sense that food is nearby, they’ll be more than happy to unwrap and eat both the outer and inner contents of the gift. Those ribbons and bows that you worked so hard on perfecting may end up wreaking havoc on your pet’s digestive tract.

Decorations

Besides the obvious precautions of making sure wires, batteries and poisonous/toxic plants (such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias) are all out of paw’s reach, make sure that plastic and glass ornaments are far away as well. If chewed or eaten, these items can cause electrical shock, acid burns, dermatitis and mouth abrasions.  

You should also remember that, as beautiful and fun as they are, snow globes contain ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance to all pets.  Another substance that you may not think of as harmful to pets is salt, and homemade play dough is loaded with it. Watch pets while your children are playing with it or around ornaments made with it. The dough can cause life-threatening electrolyte imbalances.

Scented candles may also be a holiday staple, but they may be enticing to our pets, which are at risk for serious burns and other injuries. Best to keep those candles completely out of reach.

Finally, make sure you have the phone number for your local emergency veterinarian or the ASPCA hotline on hand for emergencies.

With these tips in mind, you can help keep your four-legged family member safe during the holidays – and all year round. We here at {insert agency name} wish you a very happy holiday season!

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1 year ago · by · 0 comments

Are You Ready for a Power Outage or Emergency?

It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit handy in case of power outages or other issues — especially with the threat of stormy weather in fall and winter. See recommendations from the American Red Cross below.

Emergency kit basics

  • Water (one gallon per person, per day; keep a two-week supply at home)
  • Food (non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items; two week supply at home)
  • Flashlight and battery-powered radio, along with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit, toiletries, medications and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Copies of personal documents, along with family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash, clothing and blankets
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Maps of the area

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1 year ago · by · 0 comments

Shovel Snow Safely

Winter is here, and with it comes many traditions and activities: Holiday celebrations with loved ones in the Pacific Noethwest, skiing and snowboarding outings in the mountains, fireplace-lit living rooms, homemade batches of soup… and shoveling snow.

Should you live somewhere in Washington State when snow storms hit and your driveway and walkways are covered with the cold white stuff, you might want to just stay inside. But if your work and personal commitments make that impossible, you’ll need to first dig out the snow shovel – or make sure it’s handy before the snow flies!

For many people across Washington State, snow shoveling will be both a reality and a necessity this winter. At Duda Insurance, we want to ensure your efforts will get you on your way while also keeping you safe, so here are some snow-shoveling tips offered by the Boston Herald.

  1. Warm-up! Never jump right into an activity. Start by cleaning off your car.
  2. Place your hands a good distance apart on the shovel – it helps with leverage.
  3. Never bend at your waist.
  4. Push the snow when you can.
  5. Scoop smaller loads of snow.
  6. Use your legs, core and arms to help scoop and throw snow.
  7. Always step in the direction you throw snow to avoid excessive twisting on your lower back.
  8. If snow shoveling is on your winter task list, we at Duda Insurance wish you both a clear sidewalk and a healthy body.

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Company informations

Duda Insurance- A Division of Augustedge PLLC
Tom Moncrief

Contact details

521 S Chelan Avenue, Suite A
Wenatchee, WA 98801

509-494-8500

E-mail address:
tom@august-edge.com
Available: by appointment